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Do I Really Need a Will?

Estate Planning For Life's Stages

There’s much to plan for in life — college, your wedding, your first child, life insurance — and with more than enough to keep you busy, it’s easy to forget about your will. After all, no one wants to sit around and dwell on their death, but it is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.
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No one enjoys pondering their own mortality, but we can all help unburden our loved ones after we’ve gone, by creating a will.

Bankrate’s recent article entitled “Why it’s important for every adult to get a will” explains why you need one and how to protect what you most cherish after you pass away.

Many people think that a will must be a complicated document full of confusing legal jargon. However, the purpose of one is really very simple despite its importance. A will is a legal document that disposes of your property at your death. In addition, wills address several issues required to be resolved after death, such as who will care for your children, who will make decisions about your estate and who will receive your assets? Every adult should have one that speaks to these issues.

There are several types of  which are customized based on your property and assets. Some people have specific instructions regarding special bequests at their death, and others pass everything to a surviving spouse and children.

Testamentary will. This will is prepared in advance and is signed in front of witnesses. This is the most common type of will.

Holographic will. This is a will that is written by hand and is frequently a last resort in emergency situations. It is not valid in all states.

Oral will. This is a verbal will that’s spoken in front of witnesses. However, most courts prefer instructions in writing. As a result, an oral will isn’t a form that is widely recognized or recommended.

Mutual will. A couple can create a joint will, so that when one spouse dies, the other remains bound by the existing terms.

Pour-over will. This type is used when you plan to “pour” your assets into a previously established trust at your death.

There are many reasons why you should have a will:

  • Clearly identify ownership of your property
  • Name a legal guardian for your children
  • Shorten the legal process of assigning your assets
  • Make donations of assets to charitable organizations
  • Make specific gifts; and
  • Save on estate tax.

Speak to an experienced estate planning attorney about the right one for your situation.

Ozarks Legacy Law's office in Aurora MissouriReference: Bankrate (Nov. 6, 2020) “Why it’s important for every adult to get a will”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Intestacy, Probate Court, Inheritance, Asset Protection, Testamentary Will, Holographic Will, Oral Will, Mutual Will, Pour-Over Will, Guardianship, Estate Tax, Charitable Donation

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